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Current Projects

The following list provides information on research projects currently underway at Rutgers Center for State Health Policy. To help you navigate, projects are classified by focus area and include the project name, funder, a brief description, and a link if you would like to request additional information.

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Population Health

  • Improving Health in Salem County: Analysis of Local Data, Input from Stakeholders, and Recommendations of Evidence-Based Strategies

    Community Foundation of New Jersey

    This project seeks to identify unmet health needs of Salem County residents and recommend specific intervention strategies for which there is strong evidence of effectiveness and that have significant potential to meaningfully improve health in Salem County, New Jersey.

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  • Community Health Needs Assessment 2

    Saint Peter’s University Hospital and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

    For this project, the Center is conducting a second Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) for St. Peter’s University Hospital and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in order to comply with ACA requirements for non-profit hospitals. This includes 1) an analysis of BRFSS data for New Jersey overall and for Middlesex County and Somerset County combined for the year 2012; 2) an analysis of Uniform Billing hospital discharge records (avoidable inpatient hospitalizations and treat-and-release ED visits) for New Jersey overall, for Middlesex County and two zip codes of Somerset County combined, and for all towns within for the years 2011–2013; and 3) conducting 15 semi-structured telephone interviews with key informants in Middlesex and Somerset County to understand their perceptions of the experiences of community residents with access to care, barriers to care, and what resources and services are needed now to improve community health.

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  • Evaluation of the Faith in Prevention Initiative

    New Jersey Department of Health, Division of Family Health Services

    The New Jersey Department of Health, Division of Family Health Services (NJDOH), has been awarded a Preventive Health Services Block grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to develop and implement evidence-based strategies that reduce the burden of obesity among low-income and disparate populations by increasing physical activity and improving nutrition through community and faith-based organizations, through the Faith in Prevention Initiative. The Center is evaluating the Faith in Prevention Initiative and has four specific objectives: 1) collaborate with NJDOH to develop a robust evaluation plan; 2) review, organize, and analyze data from Faithful Families Eating Smart and Moving More (FFESMM) grant projects; 3) review, compile, and analyze outcome measures from the Congregation-Health System Partnership Model; and 4) provide technical assistance to grantees as needed.

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  • The Impact of Environmental Changes on Children’s BMI and Behaviors: A Panel Study

    National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NIH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

    This five-year project is conducting a controlled evaluation of the impact of changes in the food and physical activity (PA) environments on childhood obesity and related behaviors in five New Jersey cities. These cities have been targeted for interventions by major initiatives, affording the opportunity to conduct a natural experiment. The study aims are to advance our understanding of the relationship between elements of the environment and childhood obesity and related behaviors, assess the impact of specific environmental interventions, and demonstrate an innovative methodology for controlled evaluation of community interventions. The research design relies upon a prospective, longitudinal study of a randomly selected panel of 1,200 children in these cities. The research team collected comprehensive baseline data on obesity-related behaviors and body mass index in 2009-2010 in a study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The data also include documentation of the food and physical activity environments to which these children were exposed (geo-coded for analysis). Comprehensive data collection on children will be repeated in four years and relevant changes in the environment will be monitored over the same period. Changes may include presence of new opportunities for healthy eating or physical activity (e.g., new supermarkets, playgrounds); significant enhancement of existing ones (e.g., addition of healthy foods to convenience stores, expanded physical education in schools), as well as non-intervention related change (e.g., retail outlets that close). Individual-level exposure will be measured by proximity of the environmental change to each child’s residence (using geo-spatial methods). The analysis will evaluate the impact of exposure to these changes on a comprehensive set of outcomes including behaviors relevant to food consumption and PA as well as weight status. The research design facilitates an exceptional degree of control in isolating the effects of particular intervention strategies and promises to make a significant contribution to enhancing prevention efforts.

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  • New Jersey Family Health Survey (NJFHS)

    Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

    A 2009 survey of a representative sample of 2,500 New Jersey families gathered data on:

    • Health insurance coverage
    • Health care access, utilization, and satisfaction with special emphasis on emergency department use, health literacy, and the doctor-patient relationship
    • Health-related behaviors and perceptions including physical activity and nutrition
    • Health status and attitudes about health care
    • Demographic, socioeconomic, and employment characteristics
    The 2009 NJFHS interviews were conducted by landline and wireless telephones. The sample was designed to enable in-depth analysis of two groups of special policy interest: young adults and low-income families. Sampling weights assure that the NJFHS is demographically representative of all New Jersey household residents. The 2009 NJFHS provides an update of the 2001 New Jersey Family Health Survey on key measures of the health and health care of New Jersey residents.

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There are no current projects for this focus area at this time.